Hello SOTGC community,
Breaking Up With Hot Power Yoga
Before I started teaching at my own de facto yoga studio in my condo, I taught at a hot power yoga studio, where I had practiced yoga for one year and completed teacher training. While I learned a lot about the asanas (poses) and how to teach a solid 60-minute class there, it never really felt quite like home, so I recently left the studio.
Hot power yoga is taught in a heated room (usually 90+ degrees F) and consists of a series of intense vinyasas (flows of yoga poses). It’s exhausting and focuses heavily on the physical. As I’ve grown as a yoga teacher and practitioner, I care more about relaxation, restoration, and what I call a true yoga lifestyle.
What Is a Yoga Lifestyle?
A yoga lifestyle means living a healthy, balanced, meaningful life beyond buying pricey athletic outfits and organic fruits. Like any other industry or culture, yoga has its status symbols and trends. I would rather read, breathe, connect, and give to myself and others than wear “cool” tank tops and drink fancy juices.
After I found a new home studio for my practice, I began to notice my breath. Yoga encourages conscious, deep breathing, which is very relaxing and centering. I always start my classes now with breathing and meditation. Meditation is simply clearing your mind and focusing on the breath while seated comfortably. Now, when I teach, I can actually help my students develop body awareness and inner calm.
Finding Real Spirituality Through Yoga
And there is actually a spiritual component to yoga. What I found most intriguing and revelatory about the readings for teacher training, from the Patanjali’s ancient yoga text, the Yoga Sutras, to Baron Baptiste’s Journey into Power, a modern book about power yoga, was the unexpected emphasis on God.
Yoga has existed for 5,000 years and incorporates wisdom and mythology from its Hindu roots, but it is an ultimately inclusive practice that encourages practitioners to open their minds to the possibilities of life. There is a pervasive belief that God is in all of us and that we are all God: God is everywhere, in everything, in all of us. Doing yoga (physical asanas, breathing, and meditating) is how we can connect with God in ourselves.
My relationship with organized religion is merely a nodding acquaintance, but through yoga, I discovered a new way to thinking about God. To paraphrase John Lennon, God is in all of us. The unexpected but delightful spiritual component is very meaningful to me. As I continue to practice and teach yoga, I learn more and more, and am amazed: yoga changed my life and my perspective, and it made me believe in God.
Have you had a recent revelatory experience? How did your perspective change? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.